In case you missed it on Friday, episode 3 of Let's Play Friday is now live!
Let's Play Friday
Two bits of exciting news regarding Let's Play Friday!
1: I now have a custom channel name on YouTube! You can find me at http://youtube.com/c/LetsPlayFriday instead of the big string of random characters I was previously assigned.
2. Episode two is live, with two players for twice the fun! Many thanks to Steve for joining me and playing Air-Sea Battle:
As mentioned in Tuesday's post, I recently bought and set up a Synology DS415+ Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. I recorded a video of the unboxing and setup process, which you can check out below:
I'm planning another video to document the process of setting up my current (soon to be "old") video editing PC to record video directly from the Atari 2600 and other game systems.
Let me know if you found this useful, interesting, etc. Also let me know if there's something you want to see, something I could have done better, or any other suggestions!
As I prepare to launch Let's Play Friday, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff to get set up before I record the first show. In my last status update I discussed the webcam I'll be using to record myself as well as the capture card I'll be using to record the gameplay. Another major part of the production process is having a place to store and archive all the raw video as well as the finished products. I do my editing on a desktop computer so it's fairly simple to stick an extra hard drive in there when I run out of space, but a solution I've been wanting to implement for a couple of years now is Network Attached Storage, or NAS. Essentially, this is a box full of hard drives that sits on the network, making it easy to access your data from any connected device (and potentially including access across the internet, similar to Dropbox).
I recently purchased a Synology DS415+ 4-bay NAS enclosure, along with two Western Digital 4TB RED drives designed for NAS use. Last night I got everything put together and set up on my home network; it was a shockingly easy and quick setup process. I also recorded a video of the whole process which I'll be editing together over the next couple of days and will post up for anyone who's interested. Coming up after that will be a video showing the install/configuration of my Hauppauge TV Tuner card to capture incoming video and audio from my old gaming systems, along with a build video for my new editing PC, which I'm super excited about.
I recently was able to purchase the webcam and capture card I will be using for Let's Play Friday! There is still plenty of work to do before I can record the first episode but it's a major step closer to getting the show off the ground.
The webcam I selected was the Logitech C920, chosen for its excellent specs and outstanding customer reviews - not just on Amazon but across the web. This will be the camera that points back at me while I'm playing the games.
An important part of making webcam video look good is having proper lighting. Thankfully I didn't have to buy any new equipment for that as I've got a set of three Flolight FL-110 daylight-balanced fluorescent video lights that I bought from BX Films when they upgraded to Kino-Flo lighting. As an additional point of thanks, they sold me the used gear at a very reasonable price and I've gotten a lot of use out of the lights since then. Thanks guys!
The video capture card I selected was from Hauppauge with dual tuners. Hauppauge has had a good reputation in the video capture market for a very long time and this appeared to be a good offering for my needs. Its dual tuners mean that I can easily swap out systems on one tuner while leaving the other tuner connected to an antenna, allowing me to watch and record over-the-air TV channels. It also has inputs for composite video which will let me get a higher quality signal from the NES as well as S-Video input in case I ever discover one of the three devices on the planet that actually outputs S-Video.
I've also picked up a couple more games to add to the collection before the show starts: Bubble Bobble for NES and Ecco the Dolphin for Genesis.
I'm hoping to get everything pulled together in the next week or two and get the first two episodes recorded before the first one goes live on March 27. I'm also planning to host an old-school video game party on March 28 in order to have fun with friends and also to celebrate the launch of the show!
I have a not-insignificant collection of old video games. It's not the kind of glorious catalog that's painstakingly curated and fawned over by fellow nerds on the internet, but I'd say it falls just inside the lower bound of "extensive."
Technically some of these games and consoles belong to one or the other of my brothers, but they have basically allowed me to tend the digital flock for the past several years. There's only one real problem with my prized pile of plastic and silicon: I rarely play any of the games in the collection. Sure, I'll occasionally fire up the NES for another go at Super Mario Bros. or a round of Tetris - sometimes I even host parties to have people come over and play the games - but mostly the collection just sits on the shelf. Truth be told, I'm not even that good at video games. At the same time, I can't quite bring myself to part with them.
There is a phenomenon on the internet known as Let's Play videos. They've been around for a while, at least 8 years, but have become especially popular recently. A Let's Play video is pretty straightforward - it basically just involves somebody playing a game and providing commentary while the video shows both gameplay and the player, either cut together or superimposed in the corner of the screen. This type of video differs from a walkthrough or a review in that its purpose is primarily to entertain rather than inform.
Assuming you can put the proverbial two and two together, you might deduce that I'm planning to start a Let's Play channel of my own on YouTube. In such a case you would be correct! Good job, you! I've been rolling this idea around in my head for a while and I'm planning to go ahead with it, though I still need to get some equipment to capture the game video and wrap up some other logistics. If everything goes to plan I should be able to publish the first video about a month from now. Keep an eye on this blog and/or follow the show account on Twitter (@LetsPlayFriday) for updates!
So, what do you think of the idea? Would you be interested in seeing me play through video game history starting with Atari 2600? Let me know in the comments below!